CULINARY OCCASIONS
Fifth Annual New Jersey Wine & Food Festival at Crystal Springs Resort

Recently, Joonbug had the pleasure of attending the phenomenal Fifth Annual New Jersey Wine & Food Festival at Crystal Springs Resort. Crystal Springs is a beautiful getaway destination located in Sussex County, NJ. There was an abundance of delicious and exciting culinary events that took place during the weekend. Proceeds from the weekend are to benefit the James Beard Foundation and World Central Kitchen.

SWEET TOOTH
Whoopie Pie Recipe from Top Chef Contestant Marisa Churchill

Marisa Churchill, a former contestant on Top Chef, loves to put healthy spins on scrumptious classics. Her cookbook, Sweet & Skinny ($24), is all about healthier ways to make your favorite desserts. So far, Marisa has shared with us her recipe for PB&J Cookies and Almond Joy Macaroons. This week, we learn how to whip up some good ol' Whoopie Pies!

SWEET TOOTH
Skinny Almond Joy Macaroons

Marisa Churchill, a former contestant on Top Chef, loves to put healthy spins on yummy classics. Her cookbook, Sweet & Skinny ($24), is chock full of delicious desserts that won't have you hitting the gym twice as hard after you eat 'em. Last week, Marisa shared with us her recipe for PB&J Cookies. This week, it's all about macaroons. Check out her low-cal recipe below!

HOW-TO
PB&J Cookies from Top Chef Contestant Marisa Churchill

Marisa Churchill, contestant on Top Chef, is all about nutrition. In her cookbook, Sweet & Skinny ($24), she has a plethora of sweet treats that won't leave you with a stomachache. So nix those sugary Halloween candies and whip up a batch of these scrumptious PB&J Cookies instead!

PB&J Cookies - Makes 16 cookies

Per cookie: 130 calories, 6 grams of fat

V.I.P: VERY IMPORTANT PARTY
Talent Resources & Nic Roldan Host The 3rd Annual Charity Polo Classic

For those who had the chance this past weekend to attend Talent Resources' Third Annual Charity Polo Classic, they were in for a real treat. Held at a private estate in Watermill, NY, the event benefited Rally for Kids with Cancer, a foundation that raises funds toward finding a cure.

Mike Heller and the Talent Resources team were pleased to have American polo star Nic Roldan as the event’s host, as he flew in precisely for the benefit. The event’s famous host isn’t the only attendee to brag about: the crowd of over 250 guests included Hampton’s socialites and a slew of celebrities. Current and past cast-mates from The Real Housewives of New York including Ramona and Mario Singer, Kelly Bensimon, and LuAnn de Lesseps with boyfriend Jacques Azoulay were in attendance. The Real Housewives of New Jersey star Dina Manzo was also present. Also coming out to support the event was Bravo's Gold Coast Girls star Chanel Omari, celebrity style expert Lindsi Lane and plus sized model Andrea Horblitt.

DAILY BITES
Around the World in 80 Plates

Bravo has taken one part cooking show and one part travel show to bring viewers a culinary whirlwind spanning the entire globe. The network’s new culinary competition series, Around the World in 80 Plates, takes twelve chefs around the world to cook, learn about unfamiliar cultures and their cuisine, and most likely stab each other in the backs with their perfectly sharpened chef knives. The combination of Top Chef skill, the Amazing Race stamina, and Survivor strategy is sure to satisfy the hunger of even the most discerning reality TV junky.

HAPPENINGS
Groove With Me Hosts 7th Annual 'Tap & Tapas' Benefit

On Monday, April 16th at 6:30pm, join Groove With Me for the seventh annual "Tap & Tapas," a star-studded night of dance and food that raises funds for underprivileged young girls. Guests will enjoy food tastings from some of NYC's most celebrated hotspots, including Scarpetta, The Red Cat, LeBernadin, A Voce, Jacques Torres Chocolates and many more. Foodies will enjoy a tribute to Tom Colicchio, host of Bravo's "Top Chef" and chef/owner of Colicchio & Sons and Craft restaurants.

CULINARY OCCASIONS
Foodie Alert: The Varli Food Festival

For anyone interested in Indian culture and cuisine or someone who has never had the opportunity to enjoy the flavorful and intense tastes of India the Varli Food Festival is a not to be missed event. Join Varli Magazine, "The Ultimate Guide to Great Indian Dining" at the Metropolitan Pavillion (125 West 18th Street) on Thursday April 5th at 5 p.m. for the second annual Varli Food Festival, hosted by Emmy-nominated Top Chef host Padma Lakshmi. The festival will also feature a live cooking show demonstration from award winning Master Chef, Sanjeev Kapoor, the host of the popular Indian cooking series, “Khana Khazana,” winner of the ‘Best Cookery Show’ by the Indian Television Academy for the passed twelve years.

BEHIND THE PLATE
Zac Young Knows How to Sweet Talk

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Err…maybe not. But, at least for red carpet regulars, it is a pretty glamorous season. And while most of us won’t necessarily have the opportunity to decide between the Versace and the Valentino, we can still invite our besties over to cheer for the winners and play a few rounds of “guess who bought more Botox?” We're talking about the nominees, obvi!

To bring a bit more flavor to these uber-tasteful soirees, First Course grabbed a seat in the sweet kitchen of Flex Mussels’ Executive Pastry Chef (and former Top Chef: Just Desserts cheftestant) Zac Young. Check out Zac’s suggestions for the ultimate awards season dessert party and why everything is better with bacon.

BEHIND THE PLATE
Sbraga: Another Top Chef Contender Lands in Philly

Top Chef has churned out some impressive culinary heavy hitters since its start in 2005. And Philadelphia was proud to call Jennifer Carroll of Season 6 their own. Well, that is until she stepped down from her position at Eric Ripert’s 10 Arts. But don’t fret, Philly foodies, another Top Chef contender has set up shop just a few blocks south.

Kevin Sbraga’s quiet confidence and incredible culinary talent are what defined his win of Top Chef’s Season 7. But Sbraga is far from a reality show one-hit wonder. Before Top Chef, he held notable positions in impressive kitchens all over the place including the Ritz Carlton in Naples, La Mas Perrier in Wayne, and a bevy of Jose Garces’ eateries dotting center city.